Wisconsin Moving Forward in Efforts to Battle Childhood Obesity
Obesity contributes to health problems at any age. Obese children are at higher risk than those of normal weight to become obese adults. Helping children start out at a healthy weight could contribute to their wellbeing for many years to come.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report on the amount of obesity among low-income two- to four-year-olds in the United States (Progress on Childhood Obesity, (http://www.cdc.gov/VitalSigns/ChildhoodObesity/) indicates that Wisconsin was not one of the 19 (out of 43) states and territories to achieve a decrease in two- to four-year-olds considered obese during the reported time period (2008-2011).
The report may not reflect the whole story of progress that has been made helping low-income children in Wisconsin. From 1998-2003, obesity among Wisconsin preschoolers increased by 30%; from 2003-2008, this increase had slowed to 5%. From 2010-11 the rate actually dropped very slightly (from 14.1% of low-income two- to four-year-olds deemed obese to 14%).
This rate is still too high, and Wisconsin is working hard to improve the health of its youngest citizens. We may have stopped the increase in obesity for these children, but we need to continue efforts to provide healthy environments for children to grow and thrive.
Source: Beth Olson, UW-Extension nutritional sciences specialist.